Turkey's IS/PKK Strategy 'in Service of Erdogan's Unbounded Ambition'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping to reverse June's electoral outcome and secure another parliamentary majority and this explains his interest in fighting the Islamic State (IS) group, Politico magazine says.
An article titled The Real Reason Turkey Is Fighting ISIL seeks to disprove that Erdogan chose to abandon his previous reluctance to helping fight IS because view on the developments in Syria and Iraq has changed.
"The only game that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is actually interested in changing is the political one that he has been uncharacteristically losing since mid-June when his Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the parliamentary majority it has held since November 2002," the author, Steven A. Cook, opines.
He says that conflict with the Kurds, turning up the heat on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK, which Ankara has also been bombing) and "dashing the hopes of Syrian Kurds for greater autonomy" are all "very good politics for Erdogan as he seeks to shore up his nationalist base, which regards Kurds as mortal enemies."
The text remins that over the past year Ankara had seen Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as real cause of the IS problem. It also points out that while Ankara has been bombing the PKK in southwestern Turkey regularly since July when it began the campaign, it has only targeted IS once.
Risks stemming from Erdogan's strategy are also named: it could result in the President being "permanently compromised and marginalized" and could also turn the "current skirmish with the PKK" into a "lengthier and bloodier battle."
For Erdogan, the author underlines, everything he "cares about is at stake" at the moment, but it is not clear how his actions are giving him an edge.
Read the full article here.
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